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Winter Olympics Skating News/Impressions

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#16 sylvia


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Posted 06 February 2002 - 03:31 PM

Oh this is a fun way to get into a Winter Olynpics kinda mood. I'll be watching all the figure skating this year natch. Not to mention rooting for Hong Kong's lone competitor in speed-skating! I've seen her practice in the mall in HK - I don't rate her chances too highly as the rink's only half the size of an Olympic one!

#17 Natalia


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Posted 07 February 2002 - 11:09 AM

Michelle kwan was interviewed in this morning's NBC Today show. Of special interest, IMO, was her announcement that, unlike her plan in 1998 nagano, this time she is planning to have fun & savour the entire Olympic experience, including marching in tomorrow night's Operning Ceremonies and staying in the Athletes' Village at least part of the time. Good for her! [In Nagano, she & her team of coaches/sports psychologists/choreographers/family, etc, etc, opted to stay at a swanky hotel to 'shelter' Michele from the media glare until the last possible moment. She missed all of the fun aspects of the games...while teamate Tara Lipinski did all of the 'fun' things & WON!!! Tara was relaxed & sparkling on the ice; Michele was technically perfect but 'tight' in her delivery, back in 1998. It made a difference.]

#18 Mary Lynn Slayden

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Posted 07 February 2002 - 03:49 PM

Jeannie I always enjoy your posts. Whether ballet or anything else you comment on you are always refreshing.

I love the figure skating as well and feel torn between cheering for Kwan who shares my daughter's exact birthday and year and the other talented skaters.

I just wish for a safe Olympic Games for all the athletes and spectators. It keeps our world united in a very special way.

[ February 07, 2002: Message edited by: Mary Lynn Slayden ]

#19 Natalia


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Posted 07 February 2002 - 06:34 PM

Why, thank you for the compliment, Mary Lynn. Indeed, we will all be hoping for a secure Olympics. How many hundreds of million$$$ are being spent just on security...just on tomorrow's Opening Ceremonies ...just on the protection of President Dubya Bush? I don't think that they'll be selling pretzels in the stands! [Just kidding!! biggrin.gif ]

I wonder if a skater will be selected to light the Olympic torch? To date myself - I remember the opening ceremonies of the 1972 Olys in Sapporo, Japan, when the Olympic torch entered the stadium carried by a local young female skater. She entered the stadium, skated around the frozen track, and slipped on the ice as she rounded a corner - poor thing!...but, to her credit, she did not drop the torch. And how about the Lillehammer Olympics, when a famous local ski-jumper held aloft the torch while performing a spectacular jump onto the stadium?

#20 OCBalletMom



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Posted 08 February 2002 - 01:03 AM

Thanks Jeanie for starting this great thread. It's been fun reading what everyone has to say.

I've had Olympic fever for well over a month now and can't wait until the opening ceremonies tomorrow.

I share the wishes for safety above all else during the games.

#21 Siren



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Posted 08 February 2002 - 10:55 AM

Who else is commentating besides Hamilton? Flemming? I love her. Anyone else?

#22 Melissa


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Posted 08 February 2002 - 11:25 AM


Sandra Bezic will do commentary for the pairs competition.

I just learned that Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze will be in the pairs competition. They weren't at the European championship due to injury, so how did they qualify for the Olympics?

#23 Natalia


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Posted 08 February 2002 - 11:28 AM

Siren - Alas, not Peggy Fleming, who has an exclusive contract with rival network ABC (as does Button). Scott Hamilton's commentating partner at all events will be Canadian choreographer Sandra Bezik. She has had a long-standing contract with NBC; she commentates for the annual World Pro Figure Skating Championships, held every December in the Washington, DC area. Hmmm....in the World Pros, she is a tad prejudiced in favor of skaters for whom she does the choreography (e.g., Tara Lipinski). Bezik has a very nice delivery style, though (nice voice, on-camera presence, etc.). It will be interesting to hear her comments on the Pairs competition, which begins tomorrow, as this was her discipline; she & brother, Val, were Pairs Champions of Canada in the 1970s.

On another topic - One figure skater has been selected among the eight USA athletes to carry the tattered 'September 11th US Flag' in tonight's opening ceremonies. He is US National mens champion Todd Eldredge. Way to go, Todd! smile.gif

[ February 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

#24 Natalia


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Posted 08 February 2002 - 12:06 PM

Hot off the press! Here is the result of the 'draw' for the Pairs Short programs skate-order. The event takes place tomorrow night. To be shown live on NBC TV in the USA, 8:00 - 11:30 pm, in the East & Central time zones (then repeated in its entirety on NBC, beginning at 12:30 am). As always - check your local TV guides. Full TV skating schedule found at


Now for the Pairs Short Program draw -

****source: US Figure Skating Association web site, with my comments in ()

Pairs Short Program Start List

1. Cobisi / de Pra ITA
2. Bestandigova / Bestandig SVK
3. Berezhnaya / Sikharulidze RUS (TERRIBLE draw for them - will have to be fast & picture perfect, as judges tend to mark the early couples lower)
4. Ponomareva / Sviridov UZB


5. Totmainina / Marinin RUS
6. Shen / Zhao CHN (OK draw - ahead of B&S...but look who follows them!)
7. Sale / Pelletier CAN (EXCELLENT draw for them, as their two main competitor-couple will have already skated - B&S and Shen/Zhao. Today's practice reports, though, say that Sale/Pelletier are a bit shaky in their throw triples - Jaime unable to land a single one - so this should boost their confidence. I hope that Jaime is not injured, though. Very odd, the news about the practices.)
8. Zagorska / Siudek POL (Good draw...they are my favorite team to pull a major surprise if they skate cleanly - she is petite & delicate; he is tall, so their lifts & throws are spectacular! I have great hopes for them!)


9. Petrova / Tikhonov RUS (hmmm..great draw if they can skate as they did two years ago)
10. Ina / Zimmerman USA (EXCELLENT draw - could surprise, just like the Poles)
11. Scott / Dulebohn USA (good for them)
12. Longlois / Archetto CAN

(funny how the last two sets of teams contain no 'major names' - NBC will probably skip over then, although I hope that is not the case)
13. Pang / Tong CHN (my current favorites for the NEXT Winter Olympics in Turin 2006 - she is ballet-thin & he can throw her half-way across the ice)
14. Chuvaeva / Plamarchuk UKR
15. Savchenko / Morozov UKR
16. Kautz / Jeschke GER


17. Krasiltseva / Znachkov ARM
18. Zhang / Zhang CHN
19. Berankova / Dlabola CZE
20. Lariviere / Faustino CAN

[ February 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

#25 Ed Waffle

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 11:12 AM

Regarding Jeannie's remarks on Candadian TV coverage of the Olympic Games:

The Olympic coverage available in Canada and the northern United States from CBC is quite different and in my opinion superior to that offered by the U. S. networks. While the Canadians are beginning to adopt some of the worst parts of the U. S. packages—for example the generally egregious, intrusive and uninformative "Up Close and Personal" profiles of athletes—their main focus remains the competition. What they do best is point a camera at an event and describe what is or has happened.

And the “has” happened is one of the joys of our northern neighbors’ coverage of figure skating. They don’t do a running commentary during the skating itself. You just get the image and the music. Afterwards they describe what they think is important, generally with taped highlights.

The Canadian commentators are Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini, who are excellent. Those of us on this board old enough to remember the 1980 Winter Games (or was it 1984?) will recall the horrific collapse they had during the long program. Underhill fell during a side by side spin, then somehow undercut Martini, who was still spinning, so that he fell and both were tangled on the ice. It was a disaster of astonishing proportions and one that must have been very difficult to recover from. I think they actually got back up and finished the program.

Another wonderful aspect of watching Canadian coverage is that good sportsmanship is still important. A typical U. S. interview after an event in, for example, track and field, might begin something like this: “Well, Carl, you won your third gold medal of these games by setting a new Olympic record in the 100 meter sprint. However, you didn’t break your own world record over that distance. How disappointed are you with that?”

A Canadian interview would be more along the lines of “While you didn’t quite get into the medal round for the 100 yard sprint, you still ran a personal best in the semi-finals. You must be pleased with that—how do you plan to build on that for the future?”

So if you are in Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle or other areas that regularly get Canadian TV coverage you are in for a treat.

I had planned to skip most of the Winter Games coverage this quadrennial, but a broken fifth metatarsal (ouch) is keeping me much closer to the television than planned. I haven’t been following the competitions at different venues leading up to the Games, so will be watching from a less informed but possibly fresher point of view.

Lots of information about figure skating in general and the Canadian team specifically at


#26 Alexandra


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Posted 09 February 2002 - 11:50 AM

I wanna move!!!! I agree that American TV coverage is less than desirable - intrusive, as you said, mawkish at times -- down to the commercials -- and, unfortunately, also very jingoistic. The first Olympics I watched gavel to gavel was the one in LA when the Russians and Cubans didn't come (1984?) and the incessant chants of USA!!! when we were beating some poor little Somalian in boxing, and gloating after each medal -- that the U.S. would probably not have won in boxing, weightlifting, and other sports had there been full participation -- turned me off. I was an American Studies major, so I understand the historical roots of our thinking of ourselves the perpetual underdog but I don't think other people do, and so this side of the coverage always makes me cringe.

I'd also like to see some of the sports that A) aren't guaranteed good ratings and B) don't have American medal winners.

I did find the opening ceremonies relatively tasteful -- I'd be interested to know how they played abroad -- and I loved the Indian dancing smile.gif (It's rather like some of the reconstructed Nijinsky "Sacre de Printemps"). As a dance person, I was glad that America was represented by a hoedown -- no mention that the music came from a ballet -- and wondered where Ballet West was? If 16,000 people auditioned to be in the dance portion, couldn't they have given a few seconds to some ballet dancers?

#27 vagansmom


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Posted 09 February 2002 - 03:09 PM

I wondered about Ballet West also, Alexandra, till it occurred to me that many of the hoedown dancers just might've been from there. I like the hoedown theme - very much our heritage.

Overall, I thought the opening ceremonies were in good taste with the exception of one Bob Costa comment when the Iranian athletes came out. The camera showed George Bush and Costa called his reaction to the Iranians "stone-faced". I thought it was terribly unfair because we don't really even KNOW if Bush was looking at or reacting to the Iranian athletes. There were lots of countries' athletes parading through the arena at the time - he could've been looking at some of them or no one at all. Even if he COULD know whom Bush was looking at, Costa's remark was spurious, offensive and out of place in an opening ceremony.

#28 Estelle


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Posted 09 February 2002 - 07:02 PM

I have no TV and so have not seen the opening ceremony, but could someone please explain what hoedown is? I'm curious. smile.gif

#29 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 08:10 PM

Estelle, "hoedown" is an American term for a group dance in American Square Dancing that gradually grows in intensity and complexity as it progresses. The original hoedowns were circle dances in rondo form, influenced by the cotillion of 18th-century social dance.

#30 sylvia


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Posted 10 February 2002 - 06:20 AM

Just finished watching the Pairs short program on Eurosport - I was very impressed! The fact that so many top skaters have to skate early in the draw probably isn't great for them but I get so nervous waiting I'm happy to have all may favourites done all at once.

1st place
Bereznaya and Sikharulidze were just breath-taking. Their SP is so lovely and lyrical, they nailed every single element and have such great speed. They had perfect unison and excellent edges througout. My only quibble is their death spiral which isn't as good as some - Elena doesn't get enough arch in her back to get really low on the ice.

Sale and Pelletier were so charismatic and confident in a tango, unafraid to use humour. I love that little moment where Jamie bounces David up and down on the ice. They have absolutely the best most original lifts. What I love about them is the individual touches they put on their elements: the extended death spirals for instance, the way the split twist are caught with Jamie's arms in the air. All the top skaters seem to be in a mad rush to catch up. The sbs triple toe-loops were not in exact unison but this is only in comparison to B&S. Jamie actually slipped and they both collapsed in a heap in the final pose but it was hilarious and almost looked like it was cleverly choreographed! And they got up with so much laughter it didn't matter anyway. I think B&S scored slightly more highly in the technical marks while S&P scored better in the presentation ones.

Shen and Zhao - wow! They have come so far in terms of artistry, though admittedly they're still some distance from the top 2. Their lines are much better, they pay more attention to the use of their arms and upper body. Technically they were fantastic - huge lateral split twist, HUGE throw triple loop. They made a major error in coming out of their side-by-side spins - I think Zhao did an extra rotation! The commentator made an interesting comment on how it was these little things, the basics that seem to let them down. That seems to be the case in top 3 Chinese pairs. I guess it's because the sport is still so new in China - they used to learn off videos! The deduction hurt their technical marks quite a bit - 5.6s I think. Their LP should be really exciting though with a quad salchow throw in the works.

4 Totmianina & Marinin
- really strong on the elements but very bland.

5 Ina & Zimmerman
- skated to Pink Floyd. This one has really grown on me. Good performance for them but some of the edges weren't very sharp. Jonathan had to really hang to onto his triple toe-loop and there was a problem with unison in their sbs spins.

6 Petrova & Tikhonov
- world champions a couple years ago but they've been overtaken by a number of pairs. Really lovely and flowing to Nutcracker but the music's been done to death.

Other notables

9 The Zhang & Zhang
- I can't believe their only 16 and 17! Every element it was like WOW! A HUGE throw followed immediately by triple toe-loops. If they'd messed up on that throw it would have cost them the jumps as well so I guess it shows how confident the two are. And their lateral split twist was again amazing - she seemed to suspend in the air before rotating. He had so much time he was able to drop his hand before catching her. And again their program had a lot of energy. Personally I would have placed them 7th but they had a tiny error, I forget where.

10 Pang & Tong
- Again, technically amazing but the spins are very weak. The music I thought was very staid and slow. The Zhangs in comparison used a very high energy program and really got the crowd behind them.

Can't wait for Monday's Pairs LP - I think it's going to be one of the most exciting ever. Out of the top three whoever wins the LP will win the gold.

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]

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